MDC T notes with concern the lack of urgency by the government of Zimbabwe to address the debilitating economic crisis. It is not a secret that the current government has failed to stabilize the economy.
There is urgent need for government to start having dialogue with all stakeholders in politics, business, civic society and the church to come up with a holistic approach to rescue Zimbabwe from the economic quagmire currently bedeviling the nation.
2019 hasn’t started well for the majority of Zimbabweans because of the unrelenting currency crisis marked by growing parallel currency market as Zimbabwean authorities persist against glaring evidence and commonsense that there is no parity between the surrogate Bond notes and USD.
The severe shortage of basic commodities, manifested in the spiraling prices and rationing items per customer, notably cooking oil, sugar, bread and the disappearance of certain fizzy drinks like cokes and Fanta.
Many households didn’t enjoy Xmas as would be expected as fuel shortages made travelling impossible for many The list is endless yet the underlining point is that social services have irredeemably suffered and poverty deepened to the majority people both in the urban &rural areas
The labour unrest first by doctors then teachers &most likely by the rest of public service was inevitable if one considers the deteriorating socio-economic conditions in Zimbabwe that have festered political uncertainty and instability if not responsibly addressed
Zimbabwe is open for business” seems to mean further starvation by workers and deteriorating labour conditions. In any case good salaries are a prerequisite for economic recovery if they are sustainable, internally equitable and externally competitive.
Demand for wages in USD
Understandably, the call by doctors and teachers has been for remuneration in hard currency hence underlying the demerits of the Bond notes and RTGs. Simply put, these professionals and other workers are merely asking for a living wage .
Under the prevailing circumstances the safest measure of one’s income is US dollar denominated. In response, the government has either missed the underlying problem or pretend not to see the adverse effects of 1:1 rating of the bond note to USD.
Paying workers in hard currency is not the problem. The problem is the valueless Bond which workers cannot equitably exchange for their sweat and everybody knows that. All we are advocating for is Labour justice for the patriotic Zimbabwean who is now labouring in vain.
In its response, government should bear full responsibility for the continued deaths of patients who have since gone unattended since the industrial action by doctors. We expect a government that is human sensitive, ensures protection of health rights whilst respecting life.
The Ministry of Health should stop quantifying how much it would mean to pay the striking workers their deserved remuneration but what it means to the many households who have lost their loved ones whose lives could have been saved.
The masses are judging the government not on how much they would eventually settle to pay but on what value to citizens’ lives it put measured in terms of its perceived sense of urgency in resolving the matter.
The same would apply to the education sector where a loss of one lesson or 30 minutes is irrecoverable and has a long term bearing not only the quality of our education but on the competitiveness of the country in the near future.
The government must be seen to display a sense of urgency and seriousness to resolve the labour crisis in Zimbabwe. All organs of the state have a mandate to uphold and protect labour rights as enshrined in section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
In the midst of all this, is Zimbabwe’s perennial developmental challenge posed by a hugely skewed wage bill that chews all money that should be going to infrastructure development.